Urgent and emergency care

Choose the right service

Torbay Hospital is extremely busy and our staff are working hard to care for some very poorly patients. If it’s not an emergency, please visit your local pharmacy, GP or nearest minor injuries service. And if in doubt, call NHS 111. Choose the right service for you.

Urgent care

Urgent care services are for people who have a problem that needs attention the same day, but is not life threatening or life changing. This can be provided by our minor injuries units, various health professionals, including GPs, hospital doctors and nurses in various locations, and health centres.

You can visit your local Minor Injuries Unit if you have the following type of injuries:

  • Soft tissue injuries
  • Limb injuries (shoulder to finger, knee to toe)
  • Low risk head injuries (note: patients on blood thinners must be referred to the emergency department)
  • Soft tissue infections
  • Wounds including bites, lacerations, abrasions, bites and stings and wounds requiring sutures or glue
  • Wound infections which haven’t already been treated with antibiotics
  • Foreign bodies in eyes and ears
  • Eye issues such as conjunctivitis
  • Minor illnesses such as tonsillitis, ear infections and female UTIs

Investigations and testing

The units have limited access to investigations, we can complete a basic urinalysis. Some provide basic observations through x-ray and ECG tests (note: cardiac chest pain shouldn’t be referred to an MIU / UTC or anyone requiring an ECG as these have to be interpreted by a doctor). No blood testing is carried out.

We can’t x-ray:

  • hips and femurs
  • skulls and facial bones
  • spines – cervical thoracic or lumber
  • sternum
  • chest and ribs
  • We don’t perform CT, MRI or ultrasound scans, and we can’t carry out any x-rays ordered by your GP

What can’t an MIU help with?


  • Brain or spinal cord injuries
  • Chronic pain
  • Head injury requiring imaging x-ray / MRI
  • High energy head injuries
  • Injuries older than two weeks is outside our scope for x-ray and will need outpatient referral for x-ray
  • Injuries to the tongue and teeth
  • Open fractures


  • Chest pains
  • Dental problems
  • Diarrhea / vomiting / constipation
  • Drug / alcohol and social issues
  • Loss of consciousness or focal or neurological deficits
  • Limping child with a fever
  • Male or female catheterization
  • Male UTIs
  • Persistent headaches
  • Pregnancy related issues
  • Seizures
  • Sepsis
  • Sexually transmitted infections
  • Sudden severe shortness of breath

Other exclusions

  • Chronic disease management
  • Repeat prescriptions
  • Safeguarding concerns (e.g. possible non-accidental injury or a vulnerable person is affected)
  • Stab wounds
  • Minor surgery such as abscesses or cysts
  • Redressing of chronic wounds

There are a number of ways of assessing and treating minor injuries and ailments. If you are unsure whether to seek medical advice, please phone 111 and ask for guidance. Alternatively, you can visit The NHS website’s A-Z of health conditions and treatments.

Emergency care

Emergency care is for people who have a condition that is life threatening or presents an immediate risk to long term health. An emergency is ‘a critical or life-threatening situation’. Emergency care is provided by the Emergency Department at Torbay Hospital.

Information for local businesses in the tourism and hospitality industries

Every year we welcome thousands of visitors to our beautiful place. Unfortunately, some will need to access healthcare urgently while they are here. We would be grateful if you can help us get information to visitors so they are able to access the right services if they need them.

We want to encourage people to call 111 so they can be advised on the best service for their health need and also to let them know we have a fantastic Urgent Treatment Centre at Newton Abbot. Your support will help us to get people the right treatment and also ensure our Emergency Department can be used only when needed for emergencies.

Below are some posters that can be downloaded for you use to support us and your guests and visitors. If you have social media channels it would be great if you could share posts on there too.

Thank you for helping us help your guests and visitors.